Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Applied Materials

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s travels typically take him to all corners of the world, but this week he’s been touring Silicon Valley. His itinerary included a visit to Applied Materials’ Maydan Technology Center, a state-of-the-art semiconductor R&D laboratory in Sunnyvale.

CEO Gary Dickerson showed him around, and Blinken got to see a silicon wafer and interact with engineers in bunny suits. One of the lab’s technologists even gave Blinken the perfect souvenir to take back to Washington, DC – a piece of pure silicon.

Peggy Marcucci, Applied’s senior director of corporate communications, joked to the surprised diplomat: “Don’t worry, in this state it’s only worth about 50 cents, so it’s well under the limit of federal donation.

The single best souvenir would be a bunny costume that read, “I visited Silicon Valley, and all I got was this lousy bunny costume.” So at least he can display the silicon on his desk.

The rest of Blinken’s trip included a stop at Stanford University, where he had a stage chat at the Hoover Institution with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and also visited the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where he was joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Anna Eshoo.

BOOS AND DRINK: History Park in San Jose is gearing up for spooky season, with the return of its Halloween Haunt Light Show projected onto the front of the Pacific Hotel building each night for the last two weekends of October. And while it’s a family production, there’s also a new draw for adults: Friday nights (Oct. 21 and 28), ages 21 and up can enjoy “Slash & Sip,” partaking in a Halloween-themed cocktail, wine, or beer while carving and decorating pumpkins after the final light show begins.

The light show runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, with on-site food trucks and a singing pumpkin patch. On Sundays, families can participate in crafts and other activities while doing sleight of hand in the historic homes and replica buildings in the historic park from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. More information on

SPIN A GOOD THREAD: More than 320 volunteers spent October 8 making Disney character-inspired wigs for children battling cancer and other medical hair loss for the Magic Yarn Project at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Days in Saratoga. The amateur wigmakers – who practiced the night before – were a multi-generational crowd, with Girl Scout troupes, parents and children, and knitting groups working in teams of two to produce 160 wigs.

DARK AND STORMY VIEW: Barbara Day Turner will lead the San Jose Chamber Orchestra into the world of chamber opera this weekend as she presents “Ourland: A Dystopian State,” a social commentary about a young man who lives in a country ruled by fear and suspicion of strangers. If this sounds familiar, it’s the point made by Mexican-American composer Paul Davies and Argentine-American librettist Daniel Helfgot.

The 12-scene opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on October 22 and 23 at 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose. Tickets cost between $65 and $75, with a discount of $10 for those aged 62 and over and a range of $15 to $25 for spectators aged 22 and under. Go to for more details.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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